Taiwan leader urges China for ‘calm’ talks as pressure grows

Taipei : Taiwan’s leader today urged China to engage in “calm and rational” dialogue to maintain peace, vowing not to give in to Beijing’s recent moves to “threaten and intimidate” the self-ruled island.

  “As long as we can be calm, rational, and maintain a flexible attitude, I believe we should be able to find a solution that allows both sides to maintain peaceful and stable relations,” President Tsai Ing-wen said in a year-end news conference.

Tensions have grown since China suspended contacts with Tsai’s administration in June over her refusal to endorse China’s claim that Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single Chinese nation.

They were further amplified earlier this month when President-elect Donald Trump broke protocol by speaking with Tsai on the phone and said later he did not feel “bound by a one-China policy.” Earlier this week, China’s first aircraft carrier and five other warships held drills that passed by Taiwan and sailed through the contested South China Sea, prompting Taipei to deploy fighter jets to monitor the fleet. China maintains a standing threat to use force to achieve its goal of absorbing Taiwan.

Referring to such recent actions, Tsai said Beijing has been “gradually returning to the old ways of dividing, suppressing and even threatening and intimidating Taiwan. We hope that this is not a policy decision of the Beijing authorities.”

“We will not yield to the pressure nor go back to the old ways of confrontation,” Tsai told reporters.

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